Owlstone Medical & Insulators Union Partner for Early Detection of Mesothelioma

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Owlstone Medical, a global diagnostics company developing a breathalyzer for applications in early disease detection, announced a partnership with the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (IAHFIAW) to identify and verify breath-based biomarkers for the early detection of malignant mesothelioma.

Cambridge, UK, and Lanham, MD, USA June 05, 2019: Owlstone Medical, a global diagnostics company developing a breathalyzer for applications in early disease detection and precision medicine, announced today the formation of a partnership with the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers (IAHFIAW), formerly known as the Asbestos Workers, a building trades union in the United States and Canada, to identify and verify breath-based biomarkers for the early detection of malignant mesothelioma.

The partnership between Owlstone Medical and the Heat and Frost Insulators aims to address the need for early detection by using Breath Biopsy® to examinethe chemicals found on the breath of individuals with documented historical exposure to asbestos and radiologically and histologically confirmed mesothelioma. The project will be divided into two phases and is expected to run for three years. It will be financially supported by Heat and Frost Insulators’ Tissue Bank Asbestos Research Charitable Trust nonprofit. The first phase, approved on April 24, will focus on identifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in the breath of individuals diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma.

The second phase will be a blind study to verify the sensitivity, specificity and positive and negative predictive values of selected VOC biomarkers identified in the first phase. Breath samples will be collected using Owlstone Medical’s ReCIVA® Breath Samplerandwill be analyzed at Owlstone’s state of the art Breath Biopsy laboratory in Cambridge, UK. The study will be led by Principal Investigator Dr. Michael R. Harbut, and co-Investigator Dr. David Svinarich, Ascension Healthcare’s Vice President of Research.

Malignant mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive and treatment-resistant disease caused almost exclusively by exposure to asbestos and asbestiform fibers. Early detection of the disease is highly challenging, as a long latency period of 40-50 years between first asbestos exposure and disease onset is typical, and symptoms, when present, may be non-specific.As a result, patient prognosis is poor, with a median survival of nine to 12 months from diagnosis.

Although the disease is not common (3,200 new cases per year in the USA), the at-risk population is substantial with more than 100 million people in the U.S. alonehaving been exposed to asbestos fibers and a further 1.3 million American workers in the construction and general industry alone exposed to asbestos on the job each year.

The identification of individuals among this population who are either predisposed to developing malignant mesothelioma, or who already have early disease stage, would likely dramatically improve prognosis by limiting disease progression through earlier therapeutic interventions.Unfortunately, due to the perceived rarity of malignant mesothelioma, little research has been conducted to date on either the early identification or treatment of individuals with disease.

James P. McCourt, General President, IAHFIAW commented:“The population of those who have been exposed to asbestos and are at risk of having existing early-stage disease or developing malignant mesothelioma later in their lives includes a substantial portion of our membership. The long-term health of our members is of primary importance to the IAHFIAW, and we are confident that our partnership with Owlstone Medical will provide significant advances in the early diagnosis of this disease.”

Michael R. Harbut, MD, MPH; Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and medical advisor to the IAHFIAW, said, “The diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is typically very late in the course of the disease when surgery is not viable owing to its proliferation, and the cancer is less responsive to chemotherapy. To change this, reliable diagnostic tests that enable the earlier detection of malignant mesothelioma in at-risk populations are badly needed.”

Billy Boyle, co-founder and CEO at Owlstone Medical, said, “Malignant mesothelioma is a powerful example of an unaddressed medical need where Breath Biopsy has the potential to make a substantial difference. Through this partnership, we are looking not only to advance the early diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, but also to demonstrate that breath-based screening has the potential to have a substantial impact on a wide range of environment-driven disease.”

Since 1903, the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers has worked to assist its membership in securing employment, to defend their rights and advance their interests as working men and women, and by education and cooperation, raise them to that position in society to which they are justly entitled.

The IAHFIAW is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the Canadian Labour Congress and represents nearly 30,000 highly skilled and highly trained workers in the construction trades.

Each year, members raise and donate over a million dollars to fund research for asbestos-related diseases.

The Tissue Bank Asbestos Research Charitable Trust is a recognized 501 (c) (3) – Non-profit entity. Contributions/Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Tissue Bank Asbestos Research Fund Tax ID No. 35-2457233

Contact Info:
Name: Tom Germuska
Email: Send Email
Organization: International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
Address: 9602 Martin Luther King Junior Highway, Lanham, MD 20706, United States
Phone: +1-440-975-4262
Website: https://insulators.org

Source: PressCable

Release ID: 520415